A year ago, the government brought in laws to punish terrible landlords – so, 12 months later, how many have been hit with one of the new banning orders?
None! That’s right – according to this Guardian article from which I’m lifting this entire story, not a single slum landlord has been banned from renting homes in England: which may mean all the rubbish landlords have bucked their ideas up, but I doubt it.
Under the rules, dodgy landlords must have their details put into the government’s rogue landlord database.
Anyhow, local authorities are also able to make discretionary entries onto the database – and according to the results of the Guardian’s FOI request, a mere four suspect landlords have been entered into the system since it went online; and their names can’t even be accessed, so it’s hard to imagine what the point of all this is.
Despite the suspicious lack of entries on the would-be flash but currently fruitless database, the government reckons there are a massive 10,500 rogue landlords plying their trade across England.
Heather Wheeler, minister for housing and homelessness, is clearly a fan of the database and very keen to defend it. ‘The rogue landlord database is targeted at the most prolific and serious offenders. It is a lengthy process to build cases and secure convictions and it is therefore not surprising that there are only a limited number at this stage,’ she said.
She continued: ‘We expect the number of entries to the database to increase during the year as only offences committed from April last year can be included and it can take time to secure convictions.’
But none of that’s flying with Clive Betts, chair of the parliament’s housing, communities and local government select committee, who said: ‘Given what we know about the bad behaviour of a small number of landlords, it is very, very disappointing there aren’t more being prosecuted and banned.’
So, who’s right: Wheeler or Betts? Let us know in the comments section.